Aston Villa comment: Approach Premier League start with confidence
Villa could not have landed a much tougher assignment for their first match back in the Premier League than a trip to Tottenham, that much goes without saying.
But look past the testing opening day and the early portion of Villa’s schedule, at least on paper, would appear to offer Dean Smith’s newly-promoted team the chance to build some momentum.
The rest of August sees Villa entertain both Bournemouth and Everton, before another journey to London to take on Crystal Palace.
It is followed, on the other side of the international break, by a home fixture against West Ham. Burnley and Brighton also visit Villa Park before the end of October, with a trip to Arsenal the only time in the first nine fixtures, other than the opening day, that Smith’s team face one of last season’s top six.
Smith might have claimed to want Manchester United first up, but any promoted team ideally want the fixture computer to be kind. For Villa, things could have turned out a lot worse.
By the same token, it is important they do take a decent haul from those early fixtures.
Things quickly get much tougher around the end of October when they face last season’s runaway top two, Manchester City and Liverpool, on consecutive weekends.
Those matches are followed by the first West Midlands derby of the season with Wolves, when Villa visit Molineux on November 9.
The return fixture against Nuno Espirito Santo’s men at Villa Park is scheduled for April 4.
A final day trip to the London Stadium to face West Ham on Sunday, May 17, means Villa’s season will be book-ended by away fixtures at grounds they have never previously visited.
The opening test at Tottenham is not short of storylines, with the London club having unsuccessfully pursued Jack Grealish last summer. There is no surprise it has been chosen for live coverage by Sky Sports.
The remainder of the TV picks for August and September are due to be announced early next month.